JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Rep. Mitch Boggs has pre-filed legislation to allow Missourians to obtain a hunting license or possess a permit to take wildlife on their property without registering their land with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).
HB 1694 would require the Conservation Commission to distribute landowner hunting permits upon request of any resident or nonresident who owns 5 acres of property. The legislation would also allow qualified owners to make a yearly request for a free two-day permit for nonresident immediate family members to hunt wildlife on their land.
As of 2020, MDC requires citizens to register their land before receiving a free or discounted three-year landowner permit to hunt turkey and deer on their property. Under current MDC regulations, residents must own at least 20 acres of land and nonresidents must own 75 acres or more to obtain a license.
“It’s about landowners’ rights to harvest deer on their land free of charge,” Boggs told The Missouri Times in an interview.
Boggs said constituent outreach was the driving force behind the legislation and said he’s received “1,600 interactions” on social media regarding the issue. He said farmers are uncomfortable with the government’s registration process, arguing it can be a disadvantage to rural Missourians who lack internet access.
Boggs filed a similar bill last year which was endorsed by the Missouri Cattleman’s Association. The bill received bipartisan support from the Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, passing 15-4, but ultimately did not reach the floor for a vote — which Boggs attributes largely to time constraints on the House due to COVID-19.
James Turner studies political science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Previously, he was a legislative intern for the Associated Students of the University of Missouri. James is a native of Ferguson, Missouri.